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Vegas books prep
for Super Bowl action

Jan 27, 2004 7:48 AM

Most Las Vegas sports books are expecting a nice turnout on Super Bowl Sunday, but nothing that would threaten any wagering records.

"I’d be surprised if we broke any betting records," said Bob Scucci, race and sports director at the Stardust. "The two teams — the Patriots and the Panthers — simply don’t have the mass appeal of other teams, such as the Colts, Rams and Eagles."

In fact, Scucci pointed out, the most recognized player for either team is New England quarterback Tom Brady, who "isn’t what you would call a marquee player."

The last two Super Bowls generated $71.7 million and $71.5 million in legal wagers, according to Nevada regulators.

The handle of Super Bowl bets in Nevada was steady at about $70 million until three years ago, when the Baltimore Raven-New York Giants match-up attracted a lackluster $67.6 million in 2001.

Scucci said this year’s Super Bowl match-up could have similar results at the betting windows as the Raven-Giants game three years ago.

Betting on the Super Bowl reached a peak in the late 1990s, when the game between Denver and Green Bay in 1998 generated more than $77 million in Super Bowl bets.

Bettors continued to back the Broncos in 1999, when the Denver-Atlanta game generated nearly $76 million in Super Bowl action.

Since then, betting on the Super Bowl has tailed off, partially because of the lack of fan interest, and the emergence of off shore gambling operations.

"There’s no question the off shore sports book have drawn some action away from Nevada casinos," Scucci said. "We’ve seen a lot of big bettors take their action overseas."

Nevertheless, the town of Las Vegas will fill with nearly 300,000 Super Bowl revelers, who are expected to pour millions into casino coffers.

"The Super Bowl and Las Vegas has become as synonymous as Times Square and New Year’s Eve," Scucci said. "People really enjoy the party atmosphere, and the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl will probably enhance bettors’ interest in the game and the myriad of prop bets that are available."

Proposition bets, team histories and casino promotions are among the feature’s in GamingToday’s expanded Super Bowl preview.